I’ve waited so long for a new Vita game to finally grace my handheld’s presence and it does not disappoint.
Not Dead Yet!
The third installment to Danganronpa doesn’t differ much from its predecessors. A nail-biting visual novel that explores humanity’s darker side. A constant struggle of despair versus hope as 16 students hesitantly participate in a killing game taking place inside a school.
Progression in plot remains the same as the other two main installments: daily student life, murder occurs, investigation and then class trial. The game tries to make players forget about a brutal murder that occurred with hilarious dialogue and fan service moments. Then BAM…reality comes crashing back down with another murder for the class to solve. It’s a rinse and repeat pattern, but it works.
What really got to me was the finale for class trial #1. When the harsh reality hit me, the grand twist that I didn’t see coming, I screamed out of shock. Not many games get such a outwardly reaction from me, so this moment hit close to home. Which is impressive considering how just about everything in this game isn’t normal. In fact the only person who “might” be normal is the protagonist.
Characters Maketh Story
Even if they’re weird, the main cast are likeable overall. Each of them excel in a particular field and have been dubbed as “Ultimates”, a kind of high class society. It’s quite easy to feel some form of attachment in the early stage of this game; a heartbreaking gamble if a potential favorite meets their untimely demise. Out of all the new cast, Miu Iruma, Kaito Momota and Himiko Yumeno really caught my attention.
Miu has an intensely foul mouth and she’s a favorite for all the wrong reasons. Kaito took on the backbone role for his fellow students. An impulsive idiot but one that constantly encourages his friends to do better. As for Himiko, a magician who swears she’s actually a Mage…her monotone expression never conveyed true feelings. The lack of expressions made her a joy to watch; even more so when her character development is underway.
The interesting part about Danganronpa is the potential chance of having a favorite commit murder. Between 16 scared students, some of them will try to escape, no matter the cost.
Some just want to cause mayhem (exhibit A: Kokichi…) That guy is just a grade-A douchebag.
The real tension comes in the class trials where you have to defend or accuse your fellow classmates. New minigames have entered the energetic testimonies and with these added features, plenty of explanation is given so that the player understands what’s expected of them.
There’s Debate Scrum where the class is split in half and must debate their arguments. The objective here would be to match argument points with the opposing side’s ideas. Next is basically Crazy Taxi but instead of delivering riders, you piece together answers by hitting cubes on the road. Once the answer is revealed, it’s time to run over the correct pedestrian to progress towards another question. The process continues until the final question as been answered. And there’s Mind Mine, which plays a lot like Minesweeper. Tap the colored squares to make adjoined squares disappear if they are of the same color. Keep this up until the correct answer for a question is revealed.
If there is something I wish got updated however, it would be the gifting system.
Much like real life, gift giving still boils down to an estimated guess unless the receiver of said gift is well known. The problem is the series has been vague with what’s considered the “correct” gift. Reading a character’s bio helps a bit but it doesn’t quite nail down their likes and wants.
Players can collect “friendship shards” to deepen their bond with classmates. Doing so rewards players with side stories involving the other students, as well as obtaining a special item once the friendship maxes out. Since a limited about of time exists for building up friendship (they could die), successful maxing out all characters definitely takes multiple playthroughs.
It goes without saying that Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is for longtime fans. Everything fans love about the series is present in this installment but it’s definitely not a good starting point for newcomers since the story does continue from previous entries. Even with the gifting moments being the lowest point, I highly recommend fans who don’t have this yet to get it. As for newcomers, you might want to start at the beginning.